How to Create Better A/B Tests Using Customer Data
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How to Create Better A/B Tests Using Customer Data

Last updated on October 31, 2016 by Fahad Muhammad in A/B Split Testing
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Does this scenario sound familiar:

You create a landing page after researching your target audience thoroughly — design every page element keeping the audience data in mind. After you’re done creating the page, you connect it to your ads and wait for the straw to turn to gold.

But, Rumpelstiltskin never shows up.

Unphased, you start A/B testing the page. Make the button bigger, shorten the form, and craft a headline that showcases the offer’s unique value proposition.

You wait for conversion rates to soar because countless online blogs and articles have guaranteed that’s how you do things. But, you don’t see the double digit conversion rate increase you were promised. In this case, there’s no increase at all.

You ask yourself, “Now what?” Do you refer to those same online sources and find out altering which other element would help conversion rates or do you refer to the root of it all — the data.

This four letter word is where it all started. Before designing a single element on the page, you learned what your visitors preferred and created the page based on that.

So, why abandon data when the page is complete?

Every landing page is different. Some optimization techniques can be generalized, but this is all on chance because you can increase your CTA button’s size or create a shorter form, for example, and there’s no guarantee those changes will result in a higher conversion rate. If you want to take matters in your hands, start collecting data on your landing pages before you begin testing.

In the following sections we’re going to discuss the data collection strategies you can use to start A/B testing your landing pages intelligently.

Pre A/B testing data collection strategies

Landing pages are active testing grounds where your visitors perform in real time. Their actions and “inactions” help you understand if the combination of elements were persuasive enough for them to click the CTA button or if something should change to get them to convert.

When you don’t collect user data, you don’t have sufficient information how to create landing page variations that visitors will respond to. You end up blindly creating page variations that may not always generate positive results. Instead of being depressed due to lackluster results, start collecting quantitative and qualitative data so you can create conversion-worthy pages:

  • Quantitative data: Numerical data, such as the number of visitors that converted.
  • Qualitative data: This type of data involves behavioral user insights, for example, where the visitor focused more when active on the landing page.

Marketers can use both types of data to identify what the page is lacking and use that information to A/B test and increase conversions.

Quantitative data collection techniques

Two tools come in handy when you are collecting quantitative data on your landing pages.

Google Analytics

The basic starting point for diagnosing landing page starts here because it allows you to see what’s happening on the back end.

Don’t have a Google Analytics account? Set one up by following the steps mentioned in this video.

After you’ve setup the account, connect it to your landing page. With Instapage, the process requires a few simple steps:

1. Go to the Admin tab on your GA account:

this image shows the admin tab on the Google Analytics dashboard

2. Select the "Tracking Info" tab, then select the "Tracking Code" option. Doing so will reveal your unique tracking ID that you'll add to Instapage. It should look similar to the example below:

this image shows how to add tracking info in your Google Analytics account

3. Go back to Instapage and find the Analytics button under the main page settings within the builder. It looks like this:

this image shows the analytics tab on the Instapage dashboard

4. Now add the tracking ID:

this image shows how to add the tracking code of your Google Analytics account into your Instapage account

You can also follow the steps in this help center article.

Now to access the quantitative data from your GA profile simply click the Behavior tab:

google analytics behaviour tab

Go to “Site Content” and click “All Pages,” which is where you’ll find the quantitative data, such as:

  • Page views: The total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page get counted as well.
  • Unique page views: The total number of sessions during which the specified page was viewed at least once.
  • Average time on page: The number shows how much time (on average) visitors spend on the page.
  • Entrances: How many times visitors entered your page through a specified page or set of pages.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of single-page visits. Bounce rate specifies the visits in which a visitor left your page without interacting with it.
  • % Exit: The number of exits divided by the number of page views.
  • Page Value: The average value of the page. It’s the transaction revenue plus total goal value divided by unique pageviews for the page or set of pages.

You can take all of this data into account to see numerical proof of how well the page is doing.

Instapage Analytics

We’re proud to offer customers the industry’s most advanced and powerful landing page analytics tool. Marketers can collect and view conversion data that makes it easy to A/B test their dedicated pages. From selecting display rate percentages:

this image shows how to change display rate percentages in your Instapage account

To pausing, renaming, or resuming your variation:

this image shows how to pause and reset landing page variations in Instapage

With our tool you can track four metrics:

this image shows the analytics dashboard of Instapage

  • Visitors: The number of unique visitors that landed on the page.
  • Conversions: The number of visitors that have completed the conversion goal, such as clicking the CTA button.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors that generated a conversion on the page.
  • Improvement: The difference in the conversion rate tested against the “control page,” or variation A of your landing page. For example, if variation A has a 60% conversion rate and variation B has a 40% conversion rate; your improvement would be 20%.

Armed with both Google Analytics and Instapage Analytics dashboard, you can collect a massive amount of quantitative data and start making more educated changes that will drive more conversions.

Qualitative data collection techniques

Analytics tools tell you what’s happening on your page, qualitative data tell you why it’s happening.

All qualitative data that you collect on landing pages is behavioral data because it consists of individual's’ web browsing behaviors. Browsing behavior tells you how they reacted on a dedicated page. For example, you can check whether your call-to-action is attracting people and if visitors are attempting to fill out your form without friction.

There are essentially three techniques to collect behavioral data:

  • User recordings
  • Heat maps
  • Surveys

Let’s see how you can use each data collection strategy in detail.

User recordings

User recordings are recordings of the activity the visitor performs while on the page. From these recordings, you can find out on which part of the page your visitors spend the most time and which part they completely ignored. Also, learn what made visitors leave your page without completing the conversion goal.

For example, if you observe that your visitors spent some time on the page, but left without paying attention to the CTA button, you may consider tweaking the button copy and designing the button in a more contrasting color.

To get started with user recordings, check out Hotjar, Mouseflow, Inspectlet, and Lookback to collect some very interesting insights and modify your pages based on the data.

Heat Maps

A heat map is a visual summary of data shown in different colors where yellow, green, orange, and red all have different intensity levels attached to them based on the user’s interaction with a page. (The “hotter the color” the more attention that page element receives.) Heat maps are an easy representation of data, and you can see what visitors were doing with their mouse or trackpad while they were on the page.

There are three main types of heat maps:

  • Hover maps: These track where the user's mouse moves on the page
  • Click maps: These track where the visitor clicks on the page
  • Scroll maps: These track the user’s scrolling behavior

TechWyse used heat maps to gather user data and see where the page needed improvement.

This was the original landing page:

This picture shows marketers how Tecwyse uses customer data to A/B test their landing page.

Here’s what the heat map looked like:

This picture shows marketers how heat maps can help you develop successful A/B tests.

Data collected from the heat map allowed them to gather the following insights from the page:

  • Users were clicking a “no fees” badge which wasn’t clickable
  • The page didn’t have an optimized layout forcing the visitor to look everywhere haphazardly
  • Visitors completely ignored the CTA button
  • The form below the fold went unnoticed

This is the revised landing page TechWyse created after taking into account the insights collected from the heat map:

This picture shows marketers how Techwyse created a landing page variation based on heat mapping technology.

Heat maps provide a picture of user behavior for you to learn exactly what’s stopping visitors from clicking the call to action button.

Surveys

While heat maps and user recordings do give you lots of user data, you still have to observe and decipher what the collected data means. With surveys you don’t have to do that.

With the help of surveys, your visitors give you answers to the questions you wanted. You can incorporate surveys and ask users a wide range of questions including “what did you like about this page,” to “why are you leaving this page without clicking the CTA.”

This is what Leadin does with their page:

this image shows how the leadin landing page is using on-page surveys to collect user data

You can also email surveys to your newly converted customers and ask them what made them click the CTA button.

Once you have gathered the survey results, create page variations based on that data.

You can use tools such as Omniconvert and Qualaroo to create surveys on landing pages.

A/B testing is not a guessing game

Data is at the center of the conversion optimization process because even if something is working for your competitors’ landing pages, that doesn't mean it will work for yours, too.

This is why you shouldn’t solely rely on best practices when you’re testing your page. Neither should you create page variations based on your gut.

Rely on the data instead! Collect user data and create variations for A/B tests using that data. This is the only thing that can guarantee an increase in conversion rate.

You can create and A/B test landing pages in minutes with Instapage. What’s even better is that you can add tracking codes for heat maps and user recordings by adding a little HTML code.

Start collecting more data, make more sense of the data, and create page variations that generate more ROI with Instapage, today.

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